Archive for December, 2013

Announcing the LSI December Photo Competition Winner

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Throughout November and the beginning of December 2013 LSI ran a photo competition asking our students to take unusual photographs of  locations where they were studying and then send them into us. All photo entries had to be of  well-known local landmarks, buildings or monuments and taken in such a way that the location was not so easy to identify. We had some amazing entries – from some very atmospheric, almost spooky images to those that were ingenious and extremely imaginative. The winning photo however was selected due to the sense of humour portrayed in the image.

Trafalgar Square

For those of you familiar with Trafalgar Square, the most famous of the London Squares, you will know that flocks of pigeons are a huge problem and are often attracted by the many visitors feeding them. Our winning photograph has managed to capture one of the signs asking visitors not to feed the pigeons alongside the new installation on the fourth statue plinth in the square , a plinth which regularly displays new works from artists.

The photographer Pedro Ramos Parra from Spain said, ” It was funny to see the statue of a large hen next to the sign saying not to feed the birds. It is ironic. I had to make a photo.” When Pedro was told he’d won the competition and thus a week’s free tuition at an LSI school he was thrilled. ” I have never won anything before. This is the first time and it is such a great prize! I have been studying in LSI London Hampstead from October to December but next year I would like to take my free week’s tuition in LSI New York as I am planning to travel there.”

PedroBXmasTree PedroByLSI

Christmas at LSI Vancouver with a Very Special Student

Friday, December 6th, 2013
Freddy with Holly, Shino and Chie

Freddy with Holly, Shino and Chie

This year we have an extra special ‘Gift’ at LSI Vancouver. His name is Freddy.

Freddy was a student with us in the springtime. He is a commercial pilot and an all round great guy. He made a lot of close friends when he was here.

During the summer Freddy was on a layover in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his flight crew, when something happened that changed his life forever.

As they were walking along a small African boy suddenly ran into the road just in front of a large truck. Without having time to think Freddy ran into the road caught the boy in his arms…but was hit by the truck and flew 15 metres in the air. The boy suffered a very badly smashed arm. Freddy was not so lucky. His back was broken and he had many other serious injuries. He was dead in the ambulance for 11 seconds before paramedics managed to use CPR to revive him.

Freddy was in hospital and rehabilitation for many months. One of his friends contacted everyone Freddy knows soon after the accident to explain the situation. We were all very upset. Some LSI Vancouver students who knew Freddy from his time here made a video for him in the hospital. On the video we all said that we wished him a speedy recovery and that we were all so proud of him.

These special friends helped Freddy to return to Vancouver this week. He can walk slowly and I am sure that he is often in pain – but his smile is from ear to ear. He is staying at one of the student’s apartment while he is here and we now have Freddy back in class for two weeks!

At our Christmas Party this year we are all going to have a potluck lunch where everyone eats together, then we will have a special demonstration of Japanese Culture from Morioka in Northern Japan, and finally we all sing Christmas songs and hopefully Santa Claus will hear us and come!

This year everyone gets a very special gift – the gift of life. In this case Freddy’s life. LSI wants to say “Thank You” to all the wonderful LSI Vancouver students who made this trip possible.

Please take just a moment in your busy schedule to think about how precious life is. Take a moment to hug all of your friends and everyone in your family – extra tight. This year we have an extra special ‘Gift’ at LSI Vancouver. His name is Freddy.

Merry Christmas!FBFreddyOnGuitar


Language Learning Tips from LSI Cambridge

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Chris George ADOS at LSI Cambridge
Chris George, an experienced teacher and Assistant Director of Studies at LSI Cambridge provides some wonderful tips on how students can improve their reading in the language they are studying.

  • Improving your reading skills can really improve other areas of English too, such as pronunciation, grammar and your range of vocabulary. What you read will usually determine how you read, and it certainly isn’t always necessary to understand every word you see.
  • When you are looking through a magazine or reading the news, you are probably ‘skimming’ the articles to understand the main idea. When looking at a train timetable, you are ‘scanning’ to find particular information, and when you read a novel for pleasure, for general understanding, you are reading extensively.
  • Read what you are interested in. Do not assume you have to read classic English Literature. If you like football read a football magazine. If your passion is cars, there are dozens of magazines and articles available. If fashion is your thing the choice is enormous.
  • There are also plenty of podcasts and videos online which have transcripts. Reading along with these can really help your listening comprehension, and pronunciation too
  • Don’t forget the local paper in your area. Some of the articles may not be very exciting but by reading them you improve your general reading skills and learn a lot about where you live. If you know what the important local stories are you have something to talk about with your host family or while you are waiting in the bus queue.
  • Don’t try to learn too many new words. Remember there is a difference between recognising a word and being able to use it. If you can remember and use two or three words every day you are doing well!
  • When you read, try to understand the general meaning of the text first, before you check new vocabulary. If you stop and check every new word you meet you’ll become discouraged, and your reading fluency will suffer. Can you guess the meaning of the vocabulary from the context and the words around it? Does it look like another word in English you already know? Is there a prefix? Is it positive or negative?
  • Remember that vocabulary is one part of a language. There are many other things you need to learn to improve your level, but if you make reading part of your regular routine, you’ll notice an improvement in lots of other areas of your English.

Fun and fascinating facts about Cambridge

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Did you know …

Medieval teacher and students Cambridge University was founded in 1209 by students from Oxford University. Rumour has it they moved to Cambridge because they were in trouble with the police in Oxford!
The University has over 29,000,000 books and receives a free copy of every book published in the UK every year. That’s quite a lot of reading… Triinity college library
Victorian footballers The first official game of football with rules we would recognise was played on Parker’s Piece, the big public park in the middle of Cambridge. It was played in 1848 between the City and the University. City won 2-1 with a late goal from a young Ryan Giggs.
The mathmatical bridge which crosses the river Cam was designed by Isaac Newton and is held together only by gravity with no nails, screws or fixings. Years later, students took it apart to try to understand how it worked, but couldn’t put it together again without screws and nails!This is the story told to tourists, because although the bridge is wonderful, Isaac Newton died 22 years before it was built! Mathmatical bridge in Cambridge
Hobsons River Hobson’s Conduit runs through the streets of Cambridge, bringing fresh water into the city from a ;local spring. It was built in 1610 to make sure travellers and their horses had something safe to drink when entering the city. We have always been kind to visitors!
In the 2011 United Kingdom census the population of Cambridge was 123,867 of which 24,488 were described as students. This helps to explain why they are so many students bars and cafes in Cambridge! Cambridge university students

Come and join us in Cambridge – we look forward to welcoming you to LSI Cambridge!

LSI New York student talks about getting around New York and the school in a wheelchair

Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Dennis Bliek student with LSI New York staff

Standing: Registrar Andrew Jump & Interim Ass. Director Cindy Pack
Sitting: Director Kerry Linder, Dennis Bliek & Ass. Director Victoria Reis

LSI New York have recently played host to student Dennis Bliek. Mr. Bliek, a sports-marketing professional from the Netherlands, chose LSI NYC very carefully: as he is confined to a wheelchair, his options for language schools are more limited than many international students. LSI’s accessibility was, therefore, a big factor in his choice of our school. Victoria Reis, the assistant director at LSI New York, talked briefly with Mr. Bliek about his experience here at LSI and NYC. The following is a transcript of their conversation.

VR: How did you hear about our school?

DB: I had planned to come to America for years, and I wanted to combine my trip with some kind of course, an English course or a business course. I was always in love with NYC, as well. So I searched on the internet, found your school, and got in contact—that’s how I got here.

VR: How’s your experience been so far?

DB: The first week was a little unsure—I wasn’t sure which way I was going, left or right. But now, I’ve gotten used to NYC and feel very comfortable here. As for my classes, the level of English in class is such that you learn every day. In general, I’m very happy with my course; very satisfied.

VR: Tell me more about the experience in light of your particular situation, being in a wheelchair.

DB: First of all, of course, I need to be able to get into the building; there can’t be any bumps [steps.] Your building meets this criteria. Furthermore, here at LSI, if there’s a door I can’t open, there is always someone helping me out—guards or other students. So it’s been very easy for me to get around. Also, in the classroom, there is always a podium that I can use as a desk.

VR: How about getting around in NYC? How’s that been?

DB: Before I came, I did a lot of research about public transport. NYC itself is pretty good, even compared to Amsterdam. If there’s any bump, they put a ramp here in NYC. Also, people here ask me if they can help me with anything way more than they do in Holland.

VR: That’s great! So would you recommend LSI NYC to other students in your position—that is, other students in wheelchairs?

DB: Definitely!